Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stories

There is only one thing I want to know. I want to know your story, and yours, and yours. I want to know how you survived, or didn't. I want to know about those hours after 4:00 in the morning, when you wake up and stare at the ceiling, or read email, or try yet another Russian novel. I want to know what it was like when your child died, what it was like when the world broke apart. I want to know what it is like when you climb a mountain or drive to the coast and your child is not with you. I want to know whether your laughter feels different, whether your sight has changed. I want to know what you have to say about this part of the journey, this minute, knowing full well that in the next one your words might be completely different. I want to know about the moments when sheer, raw courage takes over ~ the moments when you put your feet on the floor next to the bed and stand up. I want to know about the moments right before that, the moments of sadness so deep that you cannot push your feet out from under the covers. I want to know how we are going to do this for years to come.

7 comments:

Mompriest said...

By telling and listening to each others stories, that may be how one goes on, year in and year out. Because in hearing and being heard we are somehow held in that little piece of God's grace that we can comprehend in the midst of an otherwise bleak existence. I hope you hear many stories and share many as well.

Lisa :-] said...

I did not have a child die. But I have known grief.

The part about putting your feet on the floor is important. And you do it because it's life, and life is not about stopping.

Karen and Joe said...

Making myself survive even when I want to curl up in a ball. It's all push forward, don't think about it, it will be better in Heaven. It hurts and aches all the time, makes me question everything, but makes me trust in a Larger Story more than ever before. Your story helps me, and that of so many other mothers with broken hearts. They are my counselors now. Writing helps and rituals and remembrances. Imagination helps...picturing my son alive and well and cheering me on. God's promises of a new world help. My grandson's hugs help. I just stitch it all together like a crazy quilt and cry into it.

karen gerstenberger said...

Dear GG,
I hope you don't mind that I copied (with credit, of course) this posting and answered your questions, one by one, on my blog. If you mind, please send me a note and I'll take it down.
Thank you for asking. I hope my answers bring you some comfort.

Susan said...

I came here via Karen g's blog. I lost my 7 year old son in 2007 to cancer. Warning - this is so long I have to post it in two parts.

I want to know how you survived, or didn't. I want to know about those hours after 4:00 in the morning, when you wake up and stare at the ceiling, or read email, or try yet another Russian novel

How I survived? Sheer force of will and a 1 year old and 5 year old who needed me constanct care. I pushed back my feelings and pretended things were ok for everyone except myself. I am still doing that but it seems to be working. I blog, thank goodness, because that is the only place I voice my feelings about my grief.

My difficulty is going to sleep. I inevitably think of all the horrors I observed when lying in a silent dark bedroom. Therefore, I fall sleep to the TV every night. I cannot lie still in my bed and be conscious. I get up right away in the morning. I actually hate going to bed and being in my bed. I have night terrors so that doesn't help. If I wake up at 4:00 am I get up and use my computer.

I want to know what it was like when your child died, what it was like when the world broke apart

I knew odds were that my child would die when he was diagnosed. 4.5 years before his death. I knew he would die for sure about a year before his death. So my world broke apart slowly at first and then crumbled around me for quite some time. Finally crashed down when he was in his last weeks but witnessing is suffering and decline and death was like a bad nightmare I had to live through. So when he finally died after months of suffering my world was already obliterated and I was dealing equally with him being dead and what I had witnessed those last few weeks and the horrible night before he died when he was in agony and we could do nothing to help him. MY world was very, very ugly.
continued....

Susan said...

continued from above...

I want to know what it is like when you climb a mountain or drive to the coast and your child is not with you.

It is painful. It is joy and pain all at once. My son LOVED natural beauty. As a 5 year old he would see something beautiful out the car window and exclaim to me about it. I think how much he would have loved to be with us to see it.

I want to know whether your laughter feels different, whether your sight has changed.

Yes - every single thing is different. I feel like I live on a different plane of this world than those who have not known such a loss. I imiagine I look the same to everyone but everything looks different to me.

I want to know what you have to say about this part of the journey, this minute, knowing full well that in the next one your words might be completely different. I want to know about the moments when sheer, raw courage takes over ~ the moments when you put your feet on the floor next to the bed and stand up. I want to know about the moments right before that, the moments of sadness so deep that you cannot push your feet out from under the covers. I want to know how we are going to do this for years to come.

I have likened living my life to someone living with chronic physical pain. They must go about their business in live and deal with the pain, even hide it. That is how I feel. Everything I do from the mundane to the special is painful to some extent. I can't go to the grocery store, pediatrician, church, etc. without a painful memory or waves of grief approaching. I try to hold them at bay. I look away from the boys clothing sections. I look away from the parlor at church as I pass it so I don't remember gathering there before his funeral.

I don't allow myself to have those moments of sadness that I almost could not move from. I have not once allowed that of myself. I am afraid of that, yet I crave it too. The luxury of falling apart, of not being the one strong person for everyone else seems almost too exquisite - I cannot let myself go there.

How I am going to do this for years and years is the same way I have been doing it. One moment at a time. Faking it at times. being in denial at times. Getting "used to" my life without him and hating that but realizing I have to get used to it to function. It doesn't mean I accept it or say it is OK, just that I get used to the feelings I have about it and how to work my daily life around those feelings.

I feed off of other people's stories. That helps keep me sane - to see others on similar journies and hearing how they are living their lives and expressing their grief. Thanks for the questions and providing a forum for the answers.

christine said...

Dear one, these answers are too hard right now---but I will come back and answer them. Crossing the 2 year mark on Sunday....well, just trying to come out of that right now. so many kind words...has helped, but am raw right now...
we are going to Colorado tomorrow till the 9th---so will write then...until then,
love you